2 days in Singapore = 1 Big Splurge!
Note- this was pre-Ayurveda studies, pre-vegetarian, and pretty much a full on splurge…not exactly the picture of health, but rather an immersion into the study of gastronomy…
Tal and I joined our hosts, Clinton and Tapasha, for a 2-day tour of Singapore. During this short visit, we feasted and delighted on the rich delicacies that presented themselves at every corner. We toured Little India, Chinatown, Arab Street tasting fare from around the world; Indian fish curries, fresh Thai spring rolls, fresh fruit juices, and locally made soy milk with tapioca balls.
The first night, we enjoyed a rich Italian meal commencing with fresh Buffalo mozzarella, continued with thin crust veggie pizza and ended with a flourless chocolate torte served with homemade ice cream alamode. Fully sated, we slept deeply with memories of a delicious day floating in our mind while digesting in our bellies.
The next day, the Tour De Eating continued. We set out for Chinatown and feasted on Yum Cha, a delightful upscale Meals on Wheels in which carts of piping hot foods circulate around the dining room proffering dumplings filled with veggies, seafood, and piping hot sauces. The mushy textures of the dumplings balanced the crunchiness of the fried soft shell crab. Each delicacy had its special dipping sauce creating an affair of flavors, spices, and colors all over the table.
I tried a pork soup dumping that splashed juicy hot liquid into my mouth as I pierced through the hot satchel with my teeth (taking care that the whole of it was fully sealed behind my teeth and lips lest I shower the table in flavorful soup). The courses kept sweeping through until at last we surrendered finding only enough room for….you guessed it…Dessert! How about a red bean paste with banana topped with a scoop of ice cream?? Odd mix, yet delicious!! We left feeling full and happy just like the Chinese Buddha statues that grinned at us from ear to ear as we exited the restaurant back to the busy street bustle.
Meandering through antique shops we explored local artwork and ancient wares from around the world. Along the way we found a Chinese Buddhist Temple and took some time to admire the adornments and majestic beauty as the chant of worship echoed through the dimly lit room. Around mid afternoon, we decided to beat the heat with carrot-pear-apple-mango juice and fresh soymilk over ice. Then, we went to Chang-mi, saw Indonesia from the shore and went swimming in a roof top pool overlooking the sea. After the laps in the pool and dutiful relaxation, we set off for, yes, another dessert! Modestly, we shared 2 desserts between four people, enjoyed herbal teas and coffees and headed out for our next grazing stop.
From the classy side of Singapore we sped across town to a busy food hub by the seaside filled with the smoke of fried foods and spices. It was such a popular place that the outdoor seating was filled and we were lucky to join a table with one other couple that kindly obliged our request. Here we tried stingray served with a spicy hot sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. The meat of the stingray was white and light with a delicate texture unlike anything I had ever tried before- not fishy at all and with a slight sweetness.
A short stroll later, we arrived at… Dinner! Of course, we were not driven by hunger after a day filled almost exclusively with eating but at the exuberant recommendation of our hosts, we could not miss this experience. At Jumbo Seafood, we joined 200 other bib-wearing customers for the world-famous Singaporean Chili Crab known for its delicious sauce and gigantic crabs. The crab we chose was 2 Kg and more than enough for 4 people with claws the size of my hand. As we cracked, picked, plucked and dipped the crabmeat the rich taste of the crab and sauce was pure indulgence. Beyond satisfied and thoroughly delighted with the lavish experience we took a slow walk (waddle) to the taxi stand and home again to sleep off the fullness in a deep slumber.
An indulgence like this typically recoils into a diet of rigid rules or detox. However, as we awaited our departure from Singapore to Thailand at a 5 star hotel, we lounged at a 5 star pool and dined at a 5 star buffet with a soup to nuts display of crab and bean curd soup, assorted artisan breads, an array of Indian cuisine, a gourmet salad bar, salmon with savory sauce, squids with pasta, and countless other rich and exotic main entrees. We paused to sip and enjoy fine green tea from Japan and fresh chamomile tea in hand-sewn cotton tea bags. And just as our bellies had settled we made our way to the 10-foot long dessert table and nibbled (just for the taste) the fine chocolates and delectable bite-sized five-layer cake.
Finally, we boarded the plane and sighed sayonara to Singapore as we flew to Thailand to punch, jab, and kick the savory indulgences off of our waistline.